Sunday, June 23, 2013

Borneo Blog: Mount Kinabalu

Okay, major apologies for taking this long to post. In fact it's been so long that I can't muster the energy to do this trip justice. In an earlier post I introduced my journey to Borneo. Well the following couple slabs will give you a slight taste of what I did there (Feb/Mar 2013). The rest you'll have to hear anecdotally over the next few decades!
After meeting up with my friends in Kota Kinabalu (the capital of Malaysian Borneo's northern state of Sabah), our first priority was to head over to the island's most famous peak--Mt Kinabalu! At just over 4,000m, this is the 20th-highest mountain in the world. To climb it you usually have to book well in advance plus shell out some serious $ (for a poor person like me), so we were happy to spend out time hiking around the bottom. At this time of year there is a lot of rain, so I was lucky to catch the mountain on a clear morning before the clouds rolled in. Birding here can be frustrating due to the low-light conditions in the forest and my lack of song/call knowledge of Asian species. Still, I was able to rack up a lot of nice birds including a variety of Asian flycatchers such as Mugimaki, Pygmy Blue, Little Pied, and the possibly locally rare find--Ferruginous. Also bagged a few endemics here like Whitehead's Trogon, Golden-naped Barbet, Bornean Treepie, Bornean Whistling-Thrush, Bornean Flowerpecker... etc etc. Saw my first wagtail ever--a rather yellow "Grey Wagtail," plus a variety of other Asian things I had always drooled over in the fieldguide and now finally got to see.
Borneo has a lot more that birds to see. At first you might not notice any living things in this photo... but there are actually two! A moth that looks like a leaf... and.
This guy--some sort of awesome gecko, with lichen-styled skin.
Yet another crazy-awesome leaf-mimicking moth (all these were on the side of our hostel)
Big ol' butterfly that looks kinda moth-ish
The Swede soaks in the Bornean rainforest, while a couple leeches soak up something else in his socks (Tip: Don't stand in tropical creeks for too long)

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